Jul 27, 2016

UN Expert: it’s time for development banks to start listening

In an opinion piece in Foreign Policy magazine, Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, explains how the goal of sustainable development is under threat from growing restrictions on public participation in development and closing civil society space. Kiai calls on development banks to ensure that human rights are respected within their investments and to defend the role of public participation in development processes. “When funds are provided to governments or private companies to implement development projects, banks should always ensure that human rights are respected, particularly the rights central to civic space: the freedoms of assembly, association and expression…Sustainable development requires development banks to actively work to promote an enabling environment for community participation in their activities.” Kiai highlights a statement by over 150 groups around the world calling on development banks to ensure their investments are not putting human rights defenders at risk.